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4 Clever Ways to Use Your Meal Plan

For many of us, this hectic year of campus life included having a meal plan. As you may or may not know, the money left in your Lion Dollars account expires at the end of the year. As controversial as this “use it or lose it” policy may be, there are a few clever (and kind) ways to use up the rest of your meal plan.

LMU Food Pantry

LMU has a 24/7 food pantry in St. Robert’s for those in need. Consider using your leftover Lion Dollars to purchase non-perishable items to donate! There are donation boxes around campus, such as in the Leavey 6 C-Store. Also consider researching other opportunities to give back to the community, such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank or Feeding America.

Starbucks Mugs

Did you know that you can buy anything in Starbucks with your meal plan, including the drinkware? Pick some up for yourself, friends and family members: they can make a great gift! The Los Angeles and California branded mugs are my go-to souvenirs for faraway loved ones. I also like to give a mug or a tumbler (sometimes filled with chocolate!) as a gift around the holidays, so now is a smart time to stock up.


You can also use your meal plan at the local Domino’s! Whether you’re treating your roommates or your whole floor, pizza is always a fan-favorite. Lauren Dennis, a first-year graduate student and Resident Advisor, used her leftover meal plan to leave a generous tip for the Domino’s employees. “The workers at our local Domino’s are always so sweet,” Dennis says, “so I decided to give them a call right before we went on winter break! I ordered a small pizza and asked them to put the rest of my Lion Dollars on the tip and to split it amongst all the people working there that night.” Since you can pay entirely with Lion Dollars, this is another easy way to make someone’s day!


There are so many hard-working staff members at LMU, from facilities management to crossing guards, who work tirelessly to keep our campus running. Show them your appreciation by asking if you can buy them a coffee (or something else if they’re not into caffeine). It’s small and inexpensive but totally thoughtful.

Even though using up your leftover meal plan may be the last thing on your mind during a stressful finals season, consider how you can use the leftover money to make someone smile!

Marisa is a film production and international relations double major and philosophy minor. She loves iced coffee, watching movies, and of course her HerCampus family!
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